How Mindfulness Bridges the Gap Between Spiritual Life and Physical Life
For the first part of my life, I lived a life of spirit. I was a spiritual seeker, on a spiritual path to find understanding of the meaning of life. Then, when I couldn't find it, I immersed myself in my life in the physical world. But then, a couple of years ago, I discovered Mindfulness, and it bridged the gap between the two.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a Buddhist practice where you are aware of the world around you in a spiritual way. You immerse yourself in the world with spiritual awareness.
According to Mindful,
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
When we are being mindful, we are fully immersed in our present experience. We are attending to what is around us, not thinking about the future or the past.
I find it easiest to practice mindfulness in the outdoors, but you can do it anywhere. You see the colors and shapes all around you, inhale the scents, feel the air on your face. You are present with your sensory experience of the world around you.
There are two components to mindfulness:
I have already described mindful presence. Non-judgement means that when thoughts inevitably arise, you don't judge them as being good or bad. You just notice them and move on without attaching to them. You let your thoughts flow, and return to your breath and your sensory experience.
The life of the Spirit
When you immerse yourself in the life of the spirit, you are focused all the time on spiritual things, like questions of the meaning of life.
You may spend a lot of time reading spiritual texts, meditating or praying. Your spirituality is the focus of your life, often to the exclusion of all else. Spirituality is the lens through which you view the world.
You may view the physical experience of day to day life as being beneath you, or as being unimportant. This is a life of the mind, a life of thinking.
The life of the Physical world
When you live life in the physical world, you are living daily life. You are focused on things like work, family, money and getting ahead in life. You are building something for yourself.
You probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about spiritual things, or if you do it is fleeting and at the back of your mind.
You are living in the here and now world of the vast majority of people. You probably have so much going on in your life all the time with caring for children, work or school, friends and family, that you don't give the life of the mind much thought.
Bridging the gap
Mindfulness can help us bridge the gap between the life of the spirit, and physical life. This is because mindfulness is a focus on the present experience, but in a spiritual manner.
You don't have to do anything special to be mindful, except for maybe putting down your phone once in a while. You are still living your physical day to day life in your usual manner. You don't have to spend all your time thinking about the big spiritual questions.
Your day to day life becomes your spiritual practice, as you become fully present and non-judgmental within your life.
It is easy to practice mindfulness, it requires no special equipment. You can do mindfulness meditations if you want to, but it isn't a requirement. There are tons of mindfulness meditation videos on YouTube, and if you have a smartphone, your health app contains something called mindful moments, that you can set a timer throughout the day to remind yourself to return to mindfulness.
All you have to do is focus on your breath, and be present in the moment. You can remind yourself to be mindful at any time. This way, you are living a physical-world life, but in a spiritual manner.
You can have both the life of the spirit, and the life of the physical world. You don't have to choose one to the exclusion of the other. This is a mistake that I made for years: thinking that I had to choose. But you don't have to. You can have both types of life simultaneously. All you need to do is to be mindful.
You can practice mindful walking, mindful eating, and even mindful parenting.
When you do this, you are bringing a deeply spiritual practice into the experience of your day to day life. This can help you easily find time for a spiritual practice even in the most hectic schedule.
To learn more about mindfulness, you can check out these other blog posts:
Practicing Mindfulness can Help to Ease Stress
Mindfulness Quotes to Help You Become a More Peaceful, Happy, and Loving Parent
What do you think? Do you practice the life of the spirit or physical life more? Do you think that mindfulness can help you bridge the gap between the two as it has done for me? Let me know in the comments!